Muskoka Music Centre Under New Leadership
By Rebecca Spry
Beloved local musician and educator Frank Berg first started the Muskoka Music Centre 20-plus years ago where he introduced our community to music programs for children like Music Pups and Music for Young Children (MYC). Along with these programs the centre has offered private music lessons for singing, piano, guitar, drums, and theory.
“The Muskoka Music Centre has been a part of my life for so long,” says Berg. “I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to teach and feel a connection to so many families in Muskoka.”
This past summer, Berg chose to take a step back and transfer leadership of the centre to longtime music colleague Judy Freeman. Freeman has led the Leading Note Family Music Studio in Parry Sound for more than 25 years and is the centre director for Music Pups and the Parry Sound Contemporary Showcase Festival.
“Judy Freeman is an area colleague with strong ties to Huntsville,” explains Berg. “She is not only a great teacher, but she is also a very organized person who will facilitate our music families finding the best fit for them in their continuing music education.”
Freeman and Berg have worked together over the years to bring quality music education to students and families in our local communities. They have been instrumental in training a whole new generation of students and teachers.
Now leading music centres in both Parry Sound and Huntsville, Freeman plans to continue growing a community of like-minded music teachers to offer quality music education and learning opportunities all across Muskoka.
A strong supporter of Canada Music Week, Freeman also runs one of 15 centres in all of Canada that hosts the Contemporary Showcase to promote the performance, composition, and study of contemporary Canadian music.
“The Showcase creates a spirit of collaboration and community between music students and teachers as the greater music community comes together for this event,” says Freeman. “By exposing our students to Canadian composers and the creative process of songwriting, we are generating excitement and a greater connection to music itself.”
Since 2007, Freeman has brought well-respected Canadian composers into our area including Nancy Telfer, Andrew Harbridge, Debra Wanless, Sarah Spring, and most recently Ian Green and Frances Balodis to evaluate and encourage local students in their musical journey.
Like Berg, Freeman is also a Level 3 Certified Music For Young Children Teacher. Balodis is local to Muskoka and best known as the creator and founder of the Music for Young Children program.
“MYC is 40 years old [it launched in 1980], that speaks to the strength of the program and the quality of the teachers,” says Balodis. “Frank Berg and Judy Freeman have been wonderful assets to MYC and the local music community.”
Freeman has also introduced The Ukulele Club and a new adult beginner program called JAMM (Just Adults Making Music) to offer even more opportunities for locals to engage with music.
“We aim to provide quality music education for all ages and abilities,” says Freeman. “We hope to provide our students with a new understanding of the greater musical community and spark renewed curiosity and enthusiasm in their musical endeavours.”
Berg plans to continue playing and teaching music and can still be found leading some classes at the Muskoka Music Centre.
Learn more about the Muskoka Music Centre at muskokamusiccentre.com.